Google has launched Umamiland, an interactive site that is part game and part education. It lets you explore and learn all about the World of Japanese Cuisine. A virtual world of noodle soups, rice dishes, seafood, meats and confections, its a trip both literally and figuratively.
Hosted by a friendly anthropomorphized ball of sushi rice, there are five worlds to explore once you land on Main Rice Street. In each world you’ll see various question marks. Once clicked upon, a description of the dish appears and gives you the option to either ‘learn more’ or find a restaurant near you that serves it.
As you explore each colorful world, you find and learn about more dishes and earn badges useful for free downloads. Little tasks and challenges make the experience more engaging.
Below are a few views of each of the five lands in Umamiland:
From there you can travel to Long Valley (noodle dishes), Sizzle Yokocho (meat), Savory Bay (seafood) and the Sweet Kingdom (desserts).
As you click on each question mark in each “land”, you will not only learn about the dish, but then have the opportunity to find where it is available near you.
You can find a pdf explaining each of the dishes here
In each land you are tasked with finding certain dishes to gain badges (useful in the ‘gift shop’ for free animated downloads and wallpapers).
Both smart and savory, Umamiland makes learning about food fun and finding restaurants that serve it easy.
A great idea I’d love to see expand into other cuisines!